But for the first time, some of the school's seniors found themselves in rooms more akin to typical college apartments than their usual military-style digs.
In early November, when the Kennedy was called to Staten Island, N.Y., to house aid workers helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, 61 seniors who'd been living on the Kennedy found themselves without a place to sleep.
So they began rooming instead at the Bay Motor Inn in Buzzards Bay or the Quality Inn in Bourne. "I had to say, 'I have to move you out,'" college president Adm. Richard Gurnon said. "But they're entrepreneurial. They can figure things out."
Though Bay Motor Inn owner Fred Carbone and his wife, Irene Murphy-Carbone, were planning a 23rd anniversary trip to Florida, they happily stayed to help when Gurnon reached out, Carbone said.
'Whatever we can do'
"I was compassionate about the people down there (in New York)," he said. "I thought, whatever we can do."
The motels are charging $500 per double-occupancy room per week.
The total cost, about $35,000 per motel, will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Gurnon said.
For cadets accustomed to clanging engines at all hours and unexpected room inspections, the cramped but cozy cabins at the Bay Motor Inn are a welcome break.
"I went from being mad about not being on the ship to thinking, 'This is awesome,'" senior Christopher Flynn, 21, of Orange, Conn., said.
Flynn and Nicholas Mazurkiewicz, 22, of Attleboro, who play on the Buccaneers football team together, had single rooms on the Kennedy but quickly settled into sharing at the Bay Motor Inn. "It's like going to a regular college," Flynn said.
Studying more in motel
But despite the freedom, Mazurkiewicz said, his grades are actually up, and he finds himself studying more.
The Kennedy originally was scheduled to stay in the New Jersey-New York area for a month but is now due back Dec. 16. Cadets will stay in the motels until winter break and will return to the ship at Sea Term in mid-January, Gurnon said.
For Carbone, the extra time with the cadets isn't the burden he thought it might be. "When I said yes, I had a little reservation. I was in college once. I know what seniors are like. ... But I've been pleasantly surprised."
Cape Cod Times, 12/06/2012
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